The 20 Best Pore Vacuums, Tested by Editors and Dermatologists

These will get all the gunk out of your pores.

best pore vacuums, including pmd and dermaflash pore vacuums
(Image credit: Future)

Comedones are wild. All this gunk (read: dead skin cells, oil, leftover makeup) just gathers itself up, decides to clog up your pores, and eventually turns black—or, if pus and inflammation also decide to join the party—turns white. The best blackhead removers and acne spot products can help create a clearer complexion over time, but the best pore vacuums come in handy if you’re looking for a quick fix or deep clean. “Pore vacuums use a gentle suction force to pull out debris, oil, and dead skin cells clogged in pores,” explains Brendan Camp, M.D. and board-certified dermatologist. “They can help improve the appearance of skin and minimize the appearance of pore size.”

In short: Pore vacuums work, but should be used with an extreme abundance of caution, especially if you have active acne, extremely dry, or overall sensitive skin. "People with balanced, well-moisturized skin and very mild blackheads can try pore vacuums," says Lori Aliksanian, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of MedBeautyLA. "I'd recommend using just one pass to see how your skin tolerates the pressure and try using the lowest setting over the entire area the first few times to monitor how your skin reacts."

Most importantly, you must use a well-vetted pore vacuum tool. Otherwise, you can be left with broken blood vessels, irritation, and redness. To make sure your purchase is up to par, the Marie Claire team tested a handful of pore vacuums—evaluating them on ease of use, safety, and customizability—and tapped a handful of experts for their recommendations. Ahead, here are the best pore vacuums and how to use them.

The Best Pore Vacuums

Every pore vacuum on this list has been vetted by Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, Samantha Holender (hi, yes, me) and Marie Claire's Beauty Director, Deena Campbell; hand-selected by a board-certified dermatologist; or recommended by an industry professional. Each device is highly rated by reviewers, has a customizable design that allows you to tailor it to your skin type and concerns, and lives up to its claims. While pore vacuums certainly aren’t for everyone (lookin’ at you, people with sensitive skin) and the best option is largely dependent on your skin type and concerns, we feel confident that every tool on this list delivers results. For further guidance or if you have any concerns, check with your board-certified dermatologist.

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What to Look For in a Pore Vacuum

  • Customizable Suction

Let me say this loud and clear: Customizability is key. Different areas of the skin can handle different levels of suction—it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. As such, you'll likely want to select a pore vacuum that has a variety of settings. "The greater the level of suction, the more likely you are to damage blood vessels leading to bruising," says Dr. Zeichner. "Areas of thin skin, like the neck and skin around the eyes are especially susceptible to trauma. Areas of thicker skin, like the nose, can tolerate higher suction levels."

  • Tip Options

A decent chunk of options on the market come complete with a singular base and a multitude of tip attachments. There's a good reason for all of the add-ons. "Different shape tips allow you to use the device in different parts of the face," says Dr. Zeichner. A more narrow tip would be ideal for the sides of the nostrils, while a larger tip could be used along the forehead. Some pore vacuums will also come with microdermabrasion tips, which "offer gentle exfoliation and suction benefits."

  • Spatula Design

While most pore vacuums are going to operate with suction, it's worth calling out spatula devices as well. Sitting just adjacent to pore vacuums, these are probably preferable for sensitive skin types. According to Dr. Zeichner, they "offer gentle vibrations and can help remove blockages within the pores with gentle pressure that you control."

How Does a Pore Vacuum Work?

In the same way that a real vacuum will suck up dust from the floor, a pore vacuum will suck up pore-clogging materials. “Pore vacuums usually have three levels of suction that work like a vacuum for your pores,” explains Jamie O’Banion, the founder of BeautyBio. “The suction power increases with each level, so you can customize your treatment based on what’s best for your skin.” In the end, your pores should be cleaner and look smaller.

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How Do I Use a Pore Vacuum?

Whatever you, do NOT simply turn on the power button and go to suction town. You’ll want to read the instructions mega-carefully, as they’ll differ from tool to tool. The key to a successful treatment? “Always keep the tool moving and avoid hovering over a singular spot,” advises O’Banion. “If a tool is left on a single area, it can cause redness as circulation is pulled to that area.”

How Long Will It Take to See Results?

The suction should take care of whiteheads in one treatment, but you might need to be patient on the blackhead front. It can take time to dislodge all the gunk. That said, Dr. Camp feels that “if your acne is not responding to at-home treatments and you find yourself turning to your pore vacuum often, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist who will help you establish a better understanding of the cause of your acne and develop a treatment plan.”

If you're looking for fast results, a professional appointment also might not be a bad idea. Dr. Aliksanian is a fan of professional treatments like the Diamond Glow facial or HydraFacial, which are in-office pore vacuum treatments conducted by a licensed aesthetician.

A woman laying on a spa table as she gets a professional pore vacuum facial.

HydraFacial is an in-salon option for people who want the benefits of pore vacuuming but don't feel comfortable performing the duties at home.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Which Skin Types Can Use Pore Vacuums?

Pore vacuums are not for everyone, nor are they for every type of pimple. “Patients with sensitive skin may want to use a pore vacuum with caution,” warns Dr. Camp. Use can lead to irritation, inflammation, or broken blood vessels, especially in people who have rosacea. "You also have to be careful if you have any sort of bleeding disorder or bruise easily," adds Dr. Zeichner. "Do not use the devices if you have any open or raw skin or active skin issues like eczema."

Pore vacuums are ideal for people who have oily or acne-prone skin, specifically those with blackheads or whiteheads that are already at a head. “These devices are best used on comedones once they have developed,” Dr. Camp adds. “Those with more inflammatory acne, such as pustules and cystic lesions, will need a different form of treatment.”

What Are the Risks of Using a Pore Vacuum?

The most common issues when using a pore vacuum are skin irritation and redness, which is why sensitive skin types should steer clear. "Pore vacuums are a home version of the professional pore suction devices used by estheticians. They are not regulated as skin devices by the FDA (unlike professional versions) so they do pose some risks," shares Dr. Aliksanian. "The main risks are too much suction on the skin which can break capillaries and remain permanently apparent on the skin as unsightly red marks. It can also cause breaks or microtears in the skin, putting people at risk of breakouts and scarring."

Dr. Camp adds that pore vacuums can exacerbate existing skin conditions like acne or rosacea. “It can also cause discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation, which can take a long time to resolve.”

Meet the Experts

dr. brendan camp
Dr. Brendan Camp

Brendan Camp, M.D., is double board-certified in dermatology and dermatopathology and sees patients at MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, which has locations in Upper East Side, Hampton Bays, Commack, Smithtown, Plainview, and Midtown East of Manhattan, New York. Patients have been coming to him for his expertise managing medical conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, warts, psoriasis, moles, and skin cancer, as well as cosmetic concerns and treatments with Botox, fillers, lasers, and other skin rejuvenation devices. Dr. Camp graduated with honors from Cornell University, earning a degree in biochemistry. He also completed a fellowship in dermatopathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2012. He has previously served as an assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and worked in private practice just outside Washington DC in Northern Virginia.

A black-and-white photo of a blonde doctor smiling at the camera.
Dr. Lori Aliksanian

During her years in practice as a wound care specialist, Dr. Lori Aliksanian (or Dr. Lori, as most of her clients know her) became fascinated by skin integrity and the body’s own regenerative potential. She began seeing patients with cosmetic aging concerns who wanted her help in restoring their appearance. She has since used her knowledge and expertise in skin healing to further maximize her aesthetic treatments.

Dr. Aliksanian holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and earned her MD at Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica, W.I. She completed an internship in general surgery at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, then returned to Los Angeles for a residency in general surgery at Harbor-UCLA and a fellowship in wound reconstructive surgery at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner
Dr. Joshua Zeichner

As the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, Dr. Zeichner has a broad interest in medical and cosmetic dermatology as well as clinical research. His specialty is the treatment of acne, as well as the cosmetic rejuvenation of the aging face. Dr. Zeichner treats general skin conditions, including eczema, rosecea, psoriasis, and skin cancer. In addition, he is well-versed in the use of Botox and dermal fillers, as well as lasers and chemical peels.

jamie o'banion
Jamie O'Banion

Jamie O'Banion is the CEO and founder of BeautyBio, a clean-clinical skincare brand focused on science-backed solutions. She was recently featured in Forbes as one of four female entrepreneurs to watch in their issue highlighting the most successful female entrepreneurs in America.

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.

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